BENIN KINGDOM: A New Era Beckons


          Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa   Edaiken N’Uselu


With Oba Erediauwa’s passing, and the primogeniture of ascension to the Benin throne, his first son, now Edaiken N’Uselu, takes over as the new paramount ruler of the Benin Kingdom.

The Edaiken is the heir apparent to the apex throne of the Benin Kingdom. The title, according to Benin traditional history, first came into existence during Oba Ewuare’s reign in 1440. The first Edaiken was Prince Kuoboyuwa. As the eldest son of the Oba and heir apparent to the Benin throne, he is groomed in the art of governance in form and practice at Uselu, a town of about five kilometres from the Oba’s Palace.

As tradition demands, the Edaiken normally has his own set of chiefs and his administration at Uselu is a replica of what is in Benin City. About the age of puberty {sometimes after 16 years of age} the Oba introduces him to all Edo people. The introduction ceremony involves the invitation of all categories of chiefs in the kingdom, important citizens, members of the royal family and well-wishers.

This ceremony establishes for the last time the person of the Edaiken to the people and thereafter there can be no doubt about who is the heir apparent to the throne of Benin Kingdom. It is not unlikely that this ceremony was established in order to avoid the needless power struggle between rival princes in the past, which had resulted in unpleasant situations. Before the Edaiken is invested with all the powers of his office, he must be initiated to the royal palace society of Iwobo, where he would be conferred with the title of Ukoniwebo. Thereafter, he must be invested as Edaiken before he proceeds to live at Uselu his official residence.

According to oral tradition, Edaiken is one of the Uzama who belong generally to the group of Chiefs usually referred to as kingmakers but in actual sense they officiate at the crowning ceremony of a new Oba. In Benin parlance, kings are born and not made.
When an old king passes away, the Edaiken remains in his position until the royal funeral ceremonies are over and he is proclaimed as king and crowned. The royal funeral rites of the departed and the coronation ceremonies of the new Oba that immediately follows the King’s demise last about three months.

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa, was on October 14 last year conferred with the title of Uko N’ Iwebo in accordance with the Benin custom. The ceremony, which is seen as one of the initial rites in preparation for a new king’s ascension, had in attendance traditional rulers, palace chiefs and members of the public.

On March 12, the Crown Prince of Benin was formally installed as the Edaiken of Uselu in Benin City, the Edo state capital, following the successful completion of the mandatory traditional rites. The event attracted a large crowd of people that thronged the palace, while shops and other business outlets were shut temporarily as a mark of honour and solidarity with the Crown Prince.

The Oba market and some streets as well as roads housing some traditional shines were cordoned off by security personnel and manned by colourfully dressed palace chiefs.
The movement was assisted by officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps and other traffic policemen to ease human and vehicular movements of persons.

During the installation, women groups adorned in Benin traditional attire, drummers and entertainers, youths and visitors, palace chiefs, including politicians and government officials led by Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, defied the scorching sun to usher in the Crown Prince.
The arrival of the convoy of the Crown Prince, in company of some first class Benin Chiefs, from his private residence in Benin to the palace marked the commencement of the ceremony.

About 4pm on that day, the heir apparent to the traditional stool rode with a long convoy, accompanied by Oshiomhole and his deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu, and other top government officials as well as palace chiefs, to the Edaiken palace, situated at Uselu in Ego Local Government Area. The Edaiken is expected to go through some traditional rites before he is assumed to have taken the traditional stool of Edaiken of Uselu, which will become his temporal place of abode.

Crown Prince Eheneden Erediauwa, born 1953, had served as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Norway as well as Ambassador to Angola. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology from the University of Wales. He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. Since 1987 Crown Prince has been active in leading positions within the Nigerian business community, especially the oil and gas industry   ThisDay

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